Venezuela Begins Emptying 'World's Tallest Slum'

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Venezuelan authorities have begun moving hundreds of squatters out of an abandoned skyscraper in Caracas and into new homes. 

Named after its developer, financier David Brillembourg, "The Tower of David" was meant to be a bank, but was never finished. The skyscraper has no elevator, no water, and operates beyond maximum capacity. At 45 stories tall, it is known as the worlds tallest slum. 

"Necessity brought me here, and the tower gave me a good home," Yuraima Parra, 27, told Reuters as she prepared to move herself and her baby daughter out of the building. "I was here for seven years. I'm going to miss it, but it's time to move on."

The occupants took turns patrolling, cleaning, and planning communal activities. Retuers reports that the occupants will be relocated to the town of Cua, south of Caracas, as part of the state's Great Housing Mission project. This marks the first wave of families, 160, out of some 1,150 who will be moved. 

"This is all thanks to the 'comandante'," Carlos Francisco, 36, a factory worker and resident of the Tower said of Hugo Chavez, who at first championed the re-taking of abandoned property and worked toward the project. "First, that he let us live here. And now that he built us new homes. May he rest in peace."

Current President Nicolas Maduro's has not yet said what will happen to the tower, but there are rumors that Chinese banks were interested in buying and restoring it.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.